back to article 'Gossips' say Apple will acquire ARM

London's financial district is "aflame" with rumors of a possible takeover of ARM by a company that only yesterday announced that it was sitting on a cash reserve of $41.7bn: Apple. With that amount of liquidity sloshing around, such a takeover would be by no means unrealistic for Jobs & Co. According to Wednesday's Evening …


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  1. wfl


    It should also be noted that Microsoft apparently has an interest in ARM itself, as there is speculation that Microsoft will be switching (at least some) servers over to the ARM architecture, according to the following article:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Re: Interesting

      I have it on good authority that Jobs wants to buy ARM for ONE MILLION DOLLARS

  2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    This is bad news

    An independent ARM allowed the processor to become ubiquitous. If Apple buy and then restricts ARM technology, it gives Intel a clear playing field to clean up.

    And with Atom comes Windows...

    Google's going to have to port Android to Intel!

  3. Dirk Koopman

    no kneecapping in the EU

    If the EU managed to bring itself to take a loooong look at the anti competitive aspects of Oracle acquiring control of some "free" software. I can't see the Nokia waiting very long to StrongArm the EU, never mind the DTI, into forcing Jobs into providing some pretty cast iron guarantees, before being allowed to buy ARM.

    In fact is Nokia going sit idly by should ARM come on the market? Then there are the other moby [is that still allowed?] manufacturers. What about Google? Even Microsoft might get in there now that is has seen some light with regard to the power/capability ratio of ARM hardware.

    Jobs will have the mother of all fights on its hands.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Kneecap competitors?

    Perhaps the Apple might not kneecap competitors as that leads to an impoverished wider market?

    Far better IMHO to merely take a slice of the action. That way Apple gets into Win-Win other than Win-Lose or even Lose-Lose.

    I'm sure a lot of wannabees think they can outdo the Apple and all they need is the chips (and licence) to do so.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Interesting bullshit more like.

    The competition authorities would allow this why?.

    - Because they were stoned?

    - Because they were all off sick?

    - Because they were all stuck in Santander waiting for a boat?

    Seriously - to have the creators of the processors currently used in the majority of the worlds phones owned by one phone manufacturer. Only if they sell off their phone business. How likely do you think that is?

    These rumours get pushed about because some 80's throwback with red-braces and an eightball of Bolivian Sherbet up his nose wants the share price to go in a certain direction at a certain time. Just hope it's not your pension that goes down the crapper this week.

  6. LinkOfHyrule

    Blimey oh Riley!

    ARM chips are used in like everything these days - phones, computers, games consoles god knows what else.

    If these rumours are true, could it mean established devices from rivals to Apple currently using ARM chips could be shut down. I'm guessing it would be a very silly move as of course ARM's whole business is licensing out its chips designs to third parties (or so I am ignorantly led to believe) but then again Steve Job's dose seam a bit control freaky.

    I'm worried! (urm LOL-ishly worried that is, not world war three worried!)

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Just stop developing it

      The EU might stop it if Jobs killed ARM, but he can do much the same thing by starving the high end Cortex line from R&D funds, so it slowly looses ground to Intel. This would be much harder for the EU to police ... Jobs just says that limited funds go to the smaller chips aimed at embedded systems that don't complete with Apple's range.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Android already runs on x86. The rest of your post is also tosh, too.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @AC. My bad.

        Intel only announced that Atom was running Android last week (apparently, I appear to have missed it. Must have been because I had a busy week doing some real work).

        But as to Atom and Windows, may I point you in the direction of what is happening in the NAS space, where Atom is already pushing ARM out. Almost all of the recent devices run Windows Media Server on Atom, possibly because this is of use to people with Windows PC's but also because Atom is sufficiently low power that the ARM advantages are being eroded.

        If Apple were to buy ARM and restrict advances in the architecture, do you really not think that the real winner would be Intel?

    3. Raumkraut

      And the winner is...

      Sure Intel would get some more business out of it, but if (FSM forbid) Apple does gobble up ARM and shut down its licensing business, then I suspect the real winners will be the MIPS people.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      We really want MS to produce software for ARM and/or own it, because they are highly unlikely to produce their own PCs/Servers and the wouldn't tolerate limiting the use of the processors to only one company. Apple, however would bollock it up for everyone and not give two shits about it.

    5. Mad Hacker
      Thumb Down

      ARM Licenses Wouldn't Expire

      It's my understanding anyone developing ARM based technologies has long term licensing agreements. Even if they were bought out I doubt Apple could just cancel all of those. As for making chips, ARM doesn't make the chips. Other people license their designs and make the chips to their chosen specs. In fact, aside from IP that anyone can license what does ARM bring to the table?

      In conclusion... if Apple did buy ARM it probably wouldn't affect current licenses. Why would Apple buy ARM since all they have is some IP that Apple already licensed?

      Apple would be better off buying NVIDIA and AMD (with ATI along for the ride.) Maybe after owning BOTH makers of 3D cards/chipsets they could come out with a decent gaming machine..... nah nevermind.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Would that be legal?

    I mean it'd pretty much immediately collapse the rest of the Smartphone market, giving Apple a monopoly that it'd exploit to the detriment of consumers. And all the IP that's tied up in Arm would make it bloody difficult to find an alternative, helping Apple increase their market share and further lowering the value to the consumer.

    Saying that, this is such a huge threat to the other smartphone manufacturers that they should gear up to buy an alternative.

    Also, it'd mean that I'd have to find another chip to sing the praises of.

    Boo, Hiss. Apple suck.

  8. Nexox Enigma


    I read some poorly-informed financial article yesterday speculating that Apple would buy AMD. They must have gotten their TLAs mixed up : -)

    Really though, I like ARM (and AMD) and don't need to have them ruined by Apple.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Never happen. There are bigger players that would easily trump any bid by Apple many times over. Even then any takeover by any company would have massive anti-competition restrictions slapped all over it.

  10. Macka
    Jobs Halo

    Nah, don't you know?

    Apple are just saving their cash for the day when they can buy Microsoft.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Of course they want it back

    Everyone so far has forgotten Apple started ARM with Acorn. The sold them off quarter by quarter during their troubled times in the mid-90s to keep alive. Now the are doing better, it's logical they will want at least part of ARM back.

    Apple invests in many of their suppliers including Samsung Electronics and Imagination Technologies.

  12. danny_0x98


    What sense does it make to buy a company, whose sales price will be partly based on its current book of business, and then stop selling to those customers? The only, the only way that makes sense is if Apple believes it can replace the demand for the customers it shut off. No way.

    Plus, they put their own processor, which is to say one that was developed through its acquisition of PA Semi, into the iPad, so there's yet another reason why the thought of an acquisition of ARM makes no sense.

    Apple may be evil, but it isn't stupid.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple RISC Machines

    First Rowntree, then Cadbury. Even Thames Water gets tossed between the French and Germans like the office tart. Now ARM. It'll be Tesco next.

    From small Acorns, tall Apples grow.

  14. DJV Silver badge

    In a word....


  15. Vulch

    Cyclic history...

    So the Acorn Risc Machine was spun off and became the Advanced Risc Machine because Apple wanted to use the processor in the Newton but didn't want it to be under the control of a rival computer company.

    Twenty years later....

    1. Drew Scott
      Jobs Halo

      @ac - lol

      Who are these "bigger" players? Apple is now the third largest US company by market cap, second to Exxon and Microsoft. If Apple's growth continues at this rate it will not be long before they are larger than Microsoft. In the last couple of months they've gone from less than $200 billion to around $235 billion, with Microsoft at around $275 billion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kind of...

      They might have started the ARM company with Acorn, but the ARM processor design had been started by Acorn and used in the Archimedes range long before ARM was spun off as a stand alone company.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Horns

      psychic echoes....

      My exact thoughts...

    4. TeeCee Gold badge
      Jobs Horns

      Re: Smoking

      I dunno. I'm sure that it keeps His Steveiness awake at night thinking about this bit called a "CPU" that Apple are heavily dependant on but do not own and control outright.

      Owning a CPU architecture and thus having the final say over how and which way it develops would seem to me to be the missing piece in the monolithic construct of paranoid control-freakery that is the Apple jigsaw.

    5. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton


      Dude, that "No!" is so big, it's buggered up the page rendering in my Firefox!

      Paris cos she's impressed with big 'uns but I'm not! lol

      1. Tjalf Boris Prößdorf
        Jobs Halo

        Its not called control freakery,

        its called vertical integration.

        Which is perfectly legitimate and in the days before the outsourcing mania (much of which now turns out to have been exploitative or even fraudulent) was seen as a business goal to strive for.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A rival computer company they had just tried to sue out of existence, due to the RISC OS desktop... No Acorn RISC machines were ever released in the US, because of Apple.

    7. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Not an immediate collapse

      ARM do not produce processors. They license the technology, and guide it's onward development.

      The current generations of ARM processor made by people like Qualcomm and Marvel would still be produced under an existing license that Apple could do little to change (unless the Qualcomm, Marvel etc. lawyers were sleeping at the wheel).

      What they could do would be to stifle innovation for new developments and licenses, keeping the best for themselves and allowing the rest of the world to struggle on with what they have already.

      But I would hold up what happened to Mips and Alpha (and to an extent PA-Risc) as examples of what happens when a company not in the primary business of designing processors have control of a processor architecture. And SPARC may be going the same way (do you really think that Oracle are really interested in investing significant sums to progress SPARC beyond what we have already).

      I rue the day when we have just Intel and AMD (lumped together because they produce code-compatible processors), and possibly IBM if they decide to continue developing Power, are the only game in town.

    8. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Apple taking over Microsoft

      Now *that* would be a bun fight worth watching.

      Admittedly improbable at present, but MS have had a very poor decade and show no signs of having learned from the experience. Which do you think is more likely before 2020: Apple buying MS, or a Lib Dem government in the UK?

    9. Robin

      re: Smoking

      Why let facts and common sense get in the way of Apple-hating?

    10. Anonymous Coward

      stop, please stop, arrgh me sides ;-p

      "Apple are just saving their cash for the day when they can buy Microsoft."

      Ha haha hahaha hahahaha hahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaha, what with a mere 41.7 bn

    11. Eugene Crosser

      Re: Smoking

      Apple's not stupid. Purportedly, they may gain much more by choking their competition than by continuing to sell ARM licenses. Disturbing (and hopefully not coming true...)

    12. chuckc
      Thumb Down

      Their own processor

      ... actually has an ARM Cortex-A8 core inside, the IP for which they have to license from ARM. So in terms of royalties it does make sense to own ARM, since they would then be able to use their cores without incurring any expenses

  16. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    And the next day

    Headline: Apple to ARM wrestle MIPS into every cell phone.

    MIPS Technologies shares soar as phone makers scramble to switch, Chinese company Loongson has long head start. In other news, Oracle in talks with Google about consortium to merge MIPS with Sparc architecture and open source the new chip.

    My guess is that other chip makers will be happy to take up the slack should ARM wind up subject to Apples T&Cs.

  17. Daniel B.


    Apple would only have two motivations to buy ARM:

    - It wants a stranglehold on the predominant chip, so it will hog it and make it an Apple exclusive. That would screw up all other mobile producers real good.

    - It is still allied with Intel, and plans to murder ARM so that Intel will reign supreme with its crappy Atom chip.

    None of those options look good. I hope this is just a stupid rumor, similar to the AMD switch from last week. Otherwise, I'm going to be pretty mad!

  18. Lance 3


    I would expect any offer that Apple could make that a counteroffer would be made by a consortium. Who all would be in it, Ti, Nokia, Qualcomm, Google, Motorola, SE, Samsung, ST Microelectronics, Freesacle, Nvidia among others. If their license is in jeopardy, they will either fork the money over now or have to spend money on R&D and find another chip.

    I would expect that if Apple did win, various governments would only allow it if Apple didn't cancel any of the licenses. Even then, I would expect companies to start looking at alternatives.

    1. Steve Evans
      Jobs Horns

      Keep going...

      If it's portable and battery powered, the odds are it has an ARM processor in it... Sat-navs (Tomtom), MP3 players (Archos), games (Nintendo DS(i) has an ARM7 *and* an ARM9).

      These things are everywhere! I wouldn't be surprised to find there are more ARM core processors running on the planet than Windows operating systems! (And I don't just mean cos half of the windows machines are crashing instead of running!).

      /me comes over all patriotic and stands to attention as he starts humming "God save the queen".

      As for Apple buying them... God help us all!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And the day after

      There are plenty of alternatives. ATMEL, for example, is a large company with experience in designing and manufacturing low current RISC processors.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


        ATMEL are ARM licensees. They have a series of ARM7 and ARM9 based products.

        Below this, they have the AVR Microcontrollers, which are much simpler beasts.

        Do you think that there is much overlap? I don't think so.

        So they have the fab. and they have what looks like their own range of micro-controllers. How long would it take to develop their 32 bit AVR to provide the ARM functionality? By which time, everybody else would have switched to Atom or whatever lower power processor Intel has in the pipeline.

      2. LinkOfHyrule
        Thumb Up

        I believe there are

        I believe there are more ARM chips about than Windows installs if I am remembering my nerd trivia correct.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        Atmel and ARM

        Atmel have licensed ARM IP in many of their designs. ARM hold a lot of IP on chip design in general - not just CPU cores.

      4. Mage Silver badge

        Alternatives? What alternatives?

        The high end Atmel and the PA Semi use ARM licensed core.

        Microchip use MIPS core for 32F series.

        Qualcomm, PA, Samsung, Analog Devices, Freescale (Ex Motorola), Intel(they didn't sell all ARM to Marvell), Marvell, Nat. Semi. NXP (ex philips) Atmel, Renesas (formerly Hitachi and Mitsubishi), Sony, Broadcomm, Infineon, Toshiba, Texas, NEC, Fujitsu, Zilog and many others licence ARM cores or IP.

        ARMs account for over 75% of all 32-bit embedded CPUs. The new Cortex M series (priced down to $1 go after Microchip/AVR/Atmel/8051 8bit and 16bit embedded CPU markets. The Cortex A series chase the Atom MID/Netbook market.

        Also other ARMs displacing MIPS, ST20 etc. and x86/Geodes from Routers and Setboxes.

        ARM powers more than Smart phones. At least 80% of phones use ARM

        Public Licences:

        This would be like MS buying Via, AMD and Intel to prevent production of Apple Mac and Linux PCs.

      5. Anonymous Coward


        ... of which the 32 bitters are of course arm 7 based. Still waiting for their Cortex offerings to materialize.

      6. MinionZero

        2 years ago, ARM Achieved 10 Billion Processor Milestone...

        There are far more ARM cpu's than PC's in the world. e.g. Here's a press link about it, i.e. "ARM Achieves 10 Billion Processor Milestone" and it also says "we forecast that this number will continue to grow, approaching 5 billion per year by 2011"

        Its a nightmare that Apple would even think of trying to control ARM. Up until now ARM have been very open to exploring new markets, which has greatly helped it spread. With Apple's controlling attitude, they would do the exact opposite, and put off new development of ARM based products, due to companies fearing that future generations of products could come under stronger control from Apple who would be a direct competitor as well as component supplier. Thats simply unacceptable for most companies to risk that level of control over them.

        This is very bad news.


    3. Dexter


      Apple would only have two motivations to buy ARM:

      - It wants a stranglehold on the predominant chip, so it will hog it and make it an Apple exclusive. That would screw up all other mobile producers real good.

      - It is still allied with Intel, and plans to murder ARM so that Intel will reign supreme with its crappy Atom chip.


      Surely the most obvious motivation would be:

      - It wants the massive license income from the ARM chips everyone uses.

      Why kill the goose? There's a massive revenue stream there.

      1. behzad

        Massive income?

        £40m is peanuts compared to the $8 *billion* Apple made last year. ARM chips may be in virtually every handheld device going, but the money they make on each of those is pennies.For its share price, ARM's earnings are not attractive in the least.

        And so it can only be a tactical move, a move that just has to be blocked by the competition authorities. And that's if this isn't complete BS (which it probably is).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Lance 3

    Actually that doesn't sound to bad...

    - Steve Jobs has a stroke (not a stroke of genious - the other kind) and decides to buy ARM Holdings.

    - ARM holdings is bought by a consortium of every other silicon/electronics manufacturer on the planet (called 'Everybody But Apple Ltd').

    - Said consortium says ARM processors can only be used by everybody but Apple :-)

    - Next gen iPad is powered by a 8-bit PIC MCU. Does not sell so well but the Steven Fry still likes it.

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